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Guillain Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is an acute autoimmune demyelinating peripheral neuropathy. Viral illness precedes symptoms by several weeks in about two thirds of cases. Campylobacter enteritis is responsible for 10% to 25% of cases and is associated with a more severe and permanent form of GBS. In this subset of patients, the axon itself is affected as well as the myelin sheath. Classical GBS presents with an acute symmetric ascending paralysis over several days. Weakness progresses over 1 to 3 weeks and then slowly improves over the next 6 months.


Guillain Barre syndrome is not hereditary. But in about half of all cases the onset of the syndrome follows a viral or bacterial infection, such as including, flu, common cold, gastrointestinal viral infection, infectious mononucleosis, viral hepatitis, campylobacteriosis and porphyria it is the rare disease of red blood cells.

A small number of cases have been known to occur after a medical procedure, such as minor surgery.


  • Weakness begins in the distal legs, but proximal muscles may appear more affected.
  • Possible progression of weakness to trunk and arms
  • Bulbar muscle weakness (primarily ocular and facial) less common ++
  • Facial involvement, possibly asymmetric
  • Sensory complaints are less prominent but common and include paresthesias and numbness


  • Distal muscle weakness
  • Diminished or absent reflexes in the affected muscles
  • Sensorium remains intact.
  • 30% require mechanical ventilation.
  • Autonomic dysfunction may be prominent. It manifests in 50% of patients as labile blood pressure, heart rate, and urinary retention.
  • A Miller-Fischer variant starts with ophthalmoplegia and ataxia and is followed by a descending paralysis.
  • Loss of position and vibratory sense may occur.


Most people diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome are hospitalised so that any complications which affect their vital functions can be treated promptly. There is no cure, but treatment options sush as includes includes. Plasmapheresis - blood is taken from the patient. The immune cells are removed, and the remaining red blood cells are returned to the body. Gammaglobulin- trials have proven the effectiveness of this form of treatment. IVIG is given by infusion into a vein, usually every day for five days. Each infusion takes about two hours.


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